I Watched a Feminist Classic And It Made Me Want A New Coat

Go ahead, steal my feminist card because all I got from "An Unmarried Woman" was a hankering for a cashmere trench coat. I'm so shallow!

Nov 7, 2011 at 6:01pm | Leave a comment

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OK, truth? I can't get through "An Unmarried Woman," the 1978 film break through about a married woman who becomes the exact opposite vis-a-vis her idiot husband. Erica, played with a ballerina's lightness and a bull's inner strength by Jill Clayburgh, is forced to get in touch with her inner feminist when Martin leaves her for a Bloomie's shop girl.  

The film's tagline is seriously, "She laughs, she cries, she feels angry, she feels lonely, she feels guilty, she makes breakfast, she makes love, she makes do, she is strong, she is weak, she is brave, she is scared, she is... an unmarried woman."  But this cheesy run-on isn't why I can't make it to the film's finish line. 

For starters I tried to watch "An Unmarried Woman" with my boyfriend, a futile exercise that does nothing but induce  Okay, pause its. You can't get through a movie about cheating while sitting next to someone you "like like" without your mind wandering to So, What If...? world.

Plus, I'm that girl men think doesn't exist. The one who likes to ask questions and know the answers to them. We only got through about a third of "An Unmarried Woman" that night.

But something keeps pulling me back to my Netflix instant qeue -- and it's not a film buff's obsession with the golden era of the art form (yes, it was the 70s). It's the CLOTHES!

I know I know, "An Unmarried Woman" was a leap forward when in came to depicting women as they are in secret --pirouettes in your panties, wine and whining with the lady friends, questioning your very existenst. Right on! Girl Power! Go vaginas! Also? Gimme that coat!

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This belted trench was like Erica's armor, swathed in it she could do anything. To me the wide collar reads very Queen Elizabeth, another woman who found liberation in being "unmarried." Erica wears this coat everywhere in the film.

When her husband started CRYING in the middle of his pathetic "It's not you, it's my penis" speech Erica' coat is there too somehow softening the blow with all its cashmere goodness. It's the Unmarried Woman's coat of arms, my friends, and I can't finish the movie until it's mine. So, I've embarked on an online quest and I'm taking you with me. 

 

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If I had $923, this SEE by Chloe trench would definitely be in the running. Actually, it might still be in the race. What's rent when there's a runway called my sidewalk? Nevermind that I'm 31 and broke no longer looks cute on me. This collar is everything and the military epaulettes give the whole thing a bad ass "Don't mess with the best or you'll die like the rest" vibe.

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At a cool $58 clams from Etsy seller "SLSVintage" this old-school Sears coat is more my speed price point-wise. It's also much closer to the color and texture of Erica's coat in the film. It's L/XL, but I know plenty of tailors in the area who'd love to take a hack at this. Like the red-headed duo over at Ginger Root Design who specialize in remixing the stuff you stole from grandma. 

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AS I WAS TYPING THIS POST someone stole this vintage Guy Laroche cashmere/wool dream right out from under my fingertips on ebay! With that collar I coulda taken over the world, or at least my closet. But alas, it wasn't in the cards. C'est la vie. 

If the clothes make the man, then the coat makes the woman. Erica's trench in "An Unmarried Woman" is  like a superhero's cape -- it's functional, it's protective, it's a costume. Someone pointed out how rare it is these days to see a character in a film wear the same outfit more than once. But nobody lives that life.

We all pull security blankets out of the closet, wrap ourselves in them and the brave the big bad world outside. Perhaps that's why I'm so obsessed with a damn coat. I've outgrown all my go-tos but not the need for one. I want a coat of arms like Erica had. A signature something that seperates me from the crowd in more ways than one. Too much? Fine! I just want to look cute. 

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